On their self-titled debut release, Melbourne’s Cascades deliver a smorgasbord of influences that are woven into their menacing, heavy brand of post-metal. The band showcase an awareness of dynamics with tracks are equally as savagely loud as they are subtle. With only five tracks in length rounding in at 35 minutes, Cascades’ sound may be experimental, but their structural approach to song-writing is fairly direct.
The opening track Whitewater showcases how Cascades have an unpredictable nature to them. A familiar piano intro erupts into some in-your-face guitar leads, only to follow with some ballad-like, operatic clean vocals. However, they expose what they do best shortly after as they bring in the roaring, assertive vocals and dirty guitar chords until the djent-like moment that segues into the track’s blistering finish. As the album progresses, the crushing side of Cascades becomes more apparent as the track Ceaseless has a thudding ending that will leave you shuddering.
Employing post-hardcore influenced elements, its clear Cascades are not afraid to push their sound, most evident in the vocals that provide the album with its most glaring highlight. Moments on Divide and the pummelling three-and-a-half-minute Cold Bloom hit powerfully hard and with a fantastically heavy mix, sound incredibly compelling. Yearn strides into risky territory for the band as the track is driven by an unusually syncopated groove and adds in some jittery palm-muted guitars, ending the album in cathartic blast-beat mayhem
While Cascades muster up an interesting sonic exploration through their different musical endeavours, the constant switch-ups in dynamics and style works against the album’s potential tension building. As a result, the heavy and the quiet moments on this album may lose their intended potency as they struggle to fit into any musical narrative. With that being said, the band salvage this issue with in delivering a fierce performance throughout that generates excitement for the album’s relatively short length.
From the floor-shaking loud climaxes to the ever so gentle clean passages, the band shows a great level of versatility and pack it all into a riveting release.
Cascades' self-titled debut album is available via their bandcamp as of July 4, 2017. Find it here.
Written by Max Jacobson.